Trading Places: 30th Anniversary Edition - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Trading Places: 35th Anniversary Edition


    [​IMG]
    Movie: :4.5stars:
    Video: :3.5stars:
    Audio: :3stars:
    Extras: :2stars:
    Final Score: :3.5stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    While most people remember Coming to America as the start of Eddie Murphy’s lucrative comedy film career, it was actually Trading Places that kicked him off (and is arguably the better movie of the pair). Both directed by John Landis, and both featuring Eddie Murphy at the apex of his skill, the two movies have been iconicized as some of the best 80s comedies from Murphy by a large margin. Trading Places also happened to star a young Dan Aykroyd, who was also enjoying the apex of his career, and the two talents combined created a hilarious romp that is still relevant today. Paramount is bringing us this 35th anniversary edition to enjoy, but it comes with a few caveats. The new slipcover is nice, as is the choice of a digital copy, but the actual technical specs on the disc are identical to the 2007 Blu-ray, which makes it a bit of a harder sell to upgrade for those of us who already have the older disc.

    Trading Places uses a humorous take on an age old question. The question being “what makes a man a gentleman? Is it his breeding, upbringing or wealth? Or is it something innate from within”? Two rich and snobby fat cat brothers, Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche) are constantly betting against each other for minor things. This time the two brothers get in a discussion about how money makes the man, so the two decide to bet a single dollar against each other, and the stakes are this. One person is stripped of his wealth and privilege, and the other is given a boost up in high society in order to see whether heredity and money make more of a difference than the person themselves. So, the two completely ruin the life of snobby Harvard educated commodities broker Louis Winthrope III (Dan Aykroyd) using spurious claims of embezzlement and fraud, effectively leaving him penniless. At the same time, they elevate a street hustler by the name of Billy Ray (Eddie Murphy) up to Winthrope’s old status, and sit back to watch the fun begin.

    Humiliated and abused by life, Winthrope is forced out of his mansion and onto the street, where he takes up residence with a hooker with a heart of gold (Jaimie Lee Curtis), while he has to watch Billy Ray sit in his seat of luxury and take over his estate from out on the streets. However, fate has other plans for the two, and the pair of complete opposites are soon forced together to find out what happened to them, as well as foil a commodities scam that the insanely rich Duke brothers are trying to pull off. All while trying to get some semblance of their lives back.
    [​IMG]
    Trading Places is a film that I don’t think could have been made today. John Landis doesn’t just try to focus on racial hot spots or whine about social injustices. It instead develops the quirks and characters of the players so that they become funny for who they ARE rather than their identity in race or societal status. The comedic timing is top notch, allowing for Aykroyd and Murphy to play off of each other with hilarious results (many of them improved according to interviews and the like). Both Winthrope and Billy Ray are characters that you want to root for by the end of the film, no matter their heredity, and Landis cleverly shifts around the goal posts several times in the film so that it’s not wildly obvious who is going to “win the bet”.

    The one common enemy that all have in common is the unscrupulous Duke brothers, who are setup as your stereotypical George Soros, Koch Borthers and Bloombergs. Rich, snobby men who feel that they can get away with toying with other peoples lives because they’re powerful enough to do so. A nice foil for both men to unite over and Don Ameche and Bellamy play the roles magnificently. You love to hate them, and the inevitable showdown between the two old fogeys makes for one of the more hilarious gags in the film.




    Rating:

    Rated R by the MPAA



    Video: :3.5stars:
    [​IMG]
    The video encode is the same recycled encode from the 2007 Blu-ray, so expect the same issues and benefits of the 15 year old master that was used for the 2007 disc. There are no objectionable artifacts in the picture, no wildly nasty DNR (there is some filtering used, but it’s actually fairly minimal), and the disc actually looks rather good most of the time. I hesitated on giving it a 3.5/5 score for the video, as it is definitely a step up from Coming to America, but the 4/5 score that it got most everywhere seems a little wrong as well due to the fact that the master is more than a bit dated, as is the encode. Thus it gets the 3.5/5 rating, but is really closer to a 3.75/5 if I’m being nitpicky. The disc is still well detailed, with Dan Aykroyd’s fur coat showing every rain drop sliding off of it while he looks in on his old associates, as well as facial details that are magnificent. There are some issues with grain spikes during some of the optical shots, and some soft focus shots, but they are fairly minimal in the grand scheme of themes. Overall this is a fairly impressive catalog title, especially due to the fact that it hasn’t gotten a visual face lift in about 15 years.





    Audio: :3stars:
    [​IMG] As with the video,
    Trading Places incorporates the same 5.1 Dolby Digital lossy upmix from the original Mono source material that the old 2007 Blu-ray enjoyed. Which means, it’s a solid audio mix, but one that is a bit dated with lossy audio and no upgrade to DTS-HD MA lossless. Dialog is crisp and cleanly replicated in the front of the room, while the surrounds get a modicum of activity from the mostly dialog centric track. The front sound state show some spacious use with the music, but this is mainly a dialog heavy track that only deviates into the other channels on small occasions. LFE is clean, but very minimally introduced, and overall the track is just adequate at the getting the job done.






    Extras: :2stars:
    [​IMG] • Insider Trading: The Making of Trading Places
    • Trading Stories
    • The Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Executive Producer George Folsey Jr.
    • Dressing the Park
    • The Trade in Trading Places
    • Trivia Pop-Ups
    • Industry Promotional Piece









    Final Score: :3.5stars:


    Trading Places was Eddie’s Murphy’s first straight up leading comedy, and arguably the better film out of the Trading Places/Coming to America duo of films I’ve reviewed here this week. John Landis was on top of his games and both Aykroyd and Murphy are hilarious in the movie. It asks the age old question of “what makes a gentleman? His money, or his internal core being?”, and runs with it. Paramount has once again simply recycled the old 2007 disc and slapped a digital copy and some snazzy new cover art, so those of you who have the old disc shouldn’t feel the need to upgrade (unless you NEED that new art and digital copy), but for those who haven’t grabbed the film. Well, it comes at a great price and the transfer is pretty solid. A hilariously fun watch.


    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jaimie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd
    Directed by: John Landis
    Written by: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
    Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French, Spanish DD Mono
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
    Studio: Paramount
    Rated: R
    Runtime: 116 minutes
    Blu-Ray Release June 12th, 2018






    Recommendation: Fun Movie

     
  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. I loved this movie.

    I still remember this line and it is still true.

    "The good part ... is that, no matter whether our clients make money or lose money, Duke & Duke get the commissions."
     
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  3. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    haha, good line, and ironic when you look at the world today
     
  4. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    I can see why over the years, lot of stock brokerage firms pop up.. Easy commission money and it doesn't matter the price of the stock if it goes up or down. lol. :)
     
  5. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Fantastic film... a classic among classics!
     
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